There are many elements that come together to make a great woman's shirt.
These can be broken into two areas:
FIT and QUALITY
FIT is probably the most essential, yet is not always easy to judge when purchasing online.
The easiest way to ensure a shirt will fit you, is to compare the actual GARMENT measurements against a shirt or blouse you already own. Some sellers will give recommended BODY measurements for you to compare against your body. This can be used as a guide, but it will not be as accurate as actually checking the garment measurements against one you have in the wardrobe. Some garments are designed to be worn loose, some fitting. So it is in your best interest to double check the garment measurements before hitting the confirm button.
By taking the time to record some easy measurements from your favourite items in your wardrobe, you could save yourself the heartache of ill fitting purchases online.
The most accurate way to measure a shirt is to lie it flat on a table. Make sure that it is sitting very flat, with the hemline even and sitting flat at the shoulder.
To find where the approximate BUSTLINE is on a shirt first measure down 27cm from where the shoulderline meets the collar (this is called neck point) and square across. This horizontal line will be the approximate bust point for a size 10. For bigger sizes, add 1cm for each size to find the bust point. EG: for size 12 measure down 28cm and square across.
To find the approximate WAISTLINE on a shirt, measure down approximately 40cm from the neck point and square across. This horizontal line will be the approximate waistline for size 10. Again adding 1cm for each size larger. EG: for size 12 measure down 41cm.
To find the approximate HIP measurement (or hem opening) measure across the bottom of the garment in a horizontal line. This measurement is effected by the overall length of the shirt. You can imagine a crop top which finishes at natural waist will have a smaller hem opening than a kaftan! So make sure you always inquire about the length of the shirt you are purchasing, so that you can compare this measurement against one of your own.
To find the shoulder width, measure from one edge of the shoulder (where the sleeve is stitched to the garment) to the opposite edge. This measurement is particularly useful if you know you have broad or narrow shoulders. This measurement will also affect how long the sleeve will sit on the body.
To find the sleeve length, measure from the shoulder edge to the edge of the cuff. To double check this measurement, halve the shoulder measurement (as explained above) and add to the sleeve measurement. Compare this against your favourite fitting shirt.
Key points to look for in a good quality shirt are listed below:
- Small stitch length on topstitching - in traditional tailoring, the finer the stitch lenght the higher the quality. This is because the stitching can be more accurate, takes longer to sew and will give a very fine finish to the garment.
- Internal seam finishes - an overlocked finish is the cheapest option, however very high quality garments will have either 'run and fell' seams (which look like a double topstitched finish with no overlocking), french seams (seam totally enclosed by itself), or bound. The later three finishes are prefered and show that the workmanship on the internal of the garment is as important to the designer, as the external.
- Quality fabrications - look for high quality cottons, these will launder very well. If buying a stripe, check that it is a yarn dye stripe (woven into the fabric) not a print. Prints have a tendency to fade very quickly when washed. Garments with spandex, nylon or polyester added to the fiber content will usually be the easier to iron and have that extra added comfort when worn. Densely woven fabrics will stay looking new longer. Thinner fabrics have a tendency to stretch out of shape and loose that crisp feeling of a freshly ironed shirt.
- Luxury finishes - this may include silk trimmings at the internal collars, on the reverse side of sleeve cuff facings, bindings etc. These are all added to give the wearer a feeling of absolute luxury, that only they can feel as the wearer.